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Why I Love Ironclad

After one year of Ironclad I have improves and grown in a lot of areas. Specifically I have changes by being a harder worker. Before I did Ironclad I half hearted everything I did, but after that I realized that if I wanted to get things done all was going to have to work harder. And that change was made. I mean with that six week span from kickoff to bag day, you need to work hard to get it all done.  One awesome thing I have done with Ironclad was going to the competition. Don’t get me wrong I love the building and experience in that, but competition is a whole new thing that is just a blast. Ironclad is important in the community because of all the outreach we do, we help people and companies that help us and we help others that don’t. Well, since i have only experienced Power Up, I am going to go with Power Up. I would like Ironclad sponsors to know how hard working we are. Also with your help we will charge to victory!! Also if you are there for us, we will be there for you, all the time!! My favorite story with Ironclad was the Sleepy Hollow event at Perry Farm. When I was at Perry Farm I was part of the haunted maze at Sleepy Hollow. I was a Skeleton with a wooden baseball bat, the two don’t go together but when one charges at you I don’t think that is the first thing you will think of. I was there with Matthew and a few other guys. For the first few hours I was playing with everyone else. A few hours in Matthew, another guy, and I went off a ways and had a system set up. One distraction and two attackers. We did that for about 8 hours until it was over. That was one of if not the best event I attended (Not Including Competitions). So with all that I loves my first year of Ironclad and look forward to my next!!

Ironclad at the Homecoming Parade

At this years BBCHS homecome parade, Ironclad won the Best Connection to Club with our float. On the float was a planet made to represent the Homecoming Dance theme of out of this world. Along with the planet came an astronaut and alien going through a crazy space adventure. On the back of the float was a newly built robot that shot out foam balls that resembled globes. Along with having a cool robot, Ironclad was able to spread the great word of our awesome team while handing out candy and stickers to kids in the community. Ironclad had a great time at the parade, as we always do, and can’t wait for next year!

Why Stronghold was the best FRC game

Essay written by Jacob Wolf. 

Throughout the regionals I’ve attended during and before my time with Ironclad 5847, I’ve been able to watch three different FRC games in person. Even though Stronghold was my first game, and overall taste of robotics, it still sticks out in my memory, and this leads it to be my favorite FRC game. I believe that everything about that year was great: the gameplay, theme, and championship experience were unmatched by the other two years that I have experienced.

   First and most importantly are the game mechanics of Stronghold. Having only two main objectives and two (extremely similar) endgame objectives, the game is quite simple. Going over defenses was easily comprehensible to new spectators as was shooting boulders into high/low goals. Many of the scoring indicators were also located on the field, including but not limited to the flags at the top of the towers, the LEDs on each defense, etc. Getting past how it was easily understandable by outsiders, which is a big part of game design, it was also a great game for rookie and seasoned teams alike. The defenses were a staple for scoring for all teams, with only one or two being used only by veteran teams. Any team who could put together a rhino-track chassis could pass over a majority of defenses. For the other tele-op objective, boulders, it was relatively balanced as well. Having low boulder and high boulder point values not far off from each other (5 for auto, 3 for teleop) was the biggest factor in making it balanced. As well as not being far off in the number of points one gains from each task, the “high goal” task in Stronghold was somewhat easier than Steamworks’ high boiler or Power Up’s scale. Many teams were able to create not only a robot capable of shooting a boulder into the high goal, albeit not being very consistent. Combining these two factors together, spectator friendliness and balancing, it makes for a very exciting game. It seemed that every match I was on the edge of my seat wondering which alliance was going to win, unlike other games where most matches resulted in blowouts.

   The theme in 2016 was, as you may already know, medieval. This opened the door for so many costume ideas, robot names, chants, and team-to-team awards. Ironclad designed a shield which looked very awesome as well as making countless other spirit items related to the medieval theme. As well as designing some themed items ourselves, we also received plenty of awards from teams for various reasons (Ex. Gear It Forward awarding us “inspirational rookie”) which were decked out in things you would find in the Middle Ages. The last reason why the theme was so great this year was a small and minor detail that many missed. At the beginning of the match, the ‘cavalry charge’ sound effect lined up with the theme and for once did not seem out of place.

   The final reason why I just can’t forget about 2016 and Stronghold is the championship in St. Louis. This was my second-ever robotics competition, my first being Midwest, so I didn’t exactly know what I was in for. I was astonished by the sheer amount of people and robots in one building, all competing for roughly the same reason. I’ve only been to worlds one other time, in 2017, however I feel 2016 was better because of one main reason. The fact it was before the split of champs into two separate events. The one championship experience made everything more real, and made everything ‘count’. Every single team who deserved to be there was there, so no one could say, “Well team(s) ___ attended the other championship so…” There were no excuses for a team winning, and you had to be better than everyone else to be gifted the banner reading “WINNER – World Championship”. This was different in years going forward, as you were champion of only your championship.

   Overall, Stronghold was my first and favorite game because of the time I had at each competition watching the matches. Although this time was great, I hope the next games I participate in on Ironclad are able to blow Stronghold out of the water.

Second Annual Ironclad Dodgeball Tournament

On October 19, Ironclad hosted our Second Annual Ironclad Dodgeball Tournament.  Ten teams made of BBCHS students competed for the top prize.  In the end, team Soccer won, with the Mavericks coming in second place. Soccer was treated to pizza generously donated by Chicago Dough Company. Thank you to the teams that competed and to Chicago Dough for the pizza!

Bradley’s 125th Birthday

On August 19th, Ironclad manned a booth at the fair that was held in honor of Bradley’s 125th anniversary. We displayed and drove Athena, let kids drive the ArgoBots, demonstrated the circuit tiles and let people try to make their own circuits, and taught children how to stab a skewer through a balloon without popping it and how it worked. These activities attracted the attention of many adults and kids, and we were happy to answer any questions they had about our STEM-based activities and about our team. It was very entertaining and exciting to watch kids be amazed by how we could pierce a balloon without popping it or by Athena climbing and to watch them try to drive the ArgoBots along our figure-eight track. One kid was so amazed by Athena that he actually went home to bring his friends and show them how fascinating and cool robots were. Overall the event was very fun and a huge success.

– Drake Provost